SPOTLIGHT: Penguin English Library Editions (& Wishlist!)

Sunday, 17 December 2017


Gone are the days where I would buy a book simply for what was inside of it, no matter how shit the copy. Mass market paperbacks, movie tie-ins (although this excludes the new cover for Simon vs the Homosapiens' Agenda because Nick Robinson is really hot), books with torn covers and pages fallen out of them... Wordsworth Classics (*shudders*) - you name it, I bought them all. But over the last few weeks (because that's how quickly these phases/obsession of mine really do appear) I have become a - shall we say - book snob.
Don't judge a book by its cover? Are you having a laugh?!
So now, my one true mission in life - aside from worming my way into the publishing profession and owning a penguin - is to collect all of these stunning Penguin English Library Editions as quickly as I possibly can. Truthfully, each and every one of the hundred books is on my wishlist, but a blog post with that many on it seemed just a little (just a little, she says, fully noting the irony) obsessive, so I thought I would try my hardest and narrow it down to the seven books that score the highest on my need-right-now-o-meter.


Weary of her storybook, one "without pictures or conversations," the young and imaginative Alice follows a hasty hare underground--to come face-to-face with some of the strangest adventures and most fantastic characters in all of literature. The Ugly Duchess, the Mad Hatter, the weeping Mock Turtle, the diabolical Queen of Hearts, the Cheshire Cat--each more eccentric than the last.

Independent and spirited Bathsheba Everdene has come to Weatherbury to take up her position as a farmer on the largest estate in the area. Her bold presence draws three very different suitors: the gentleman-farmer Boldwood, soldier-seducer Sergeant Troy and the devoted shepherd Gabriel Oak. Each, in contrasting ways, unsettles her decisions and complicates her life, and tragedy ensues, threatening the stability of the whole community.

In this harrowing tale of good and evil, the mild-mannered Dr. Jekyll develops a potion that unleashes his secret, inner persona—the loathsome, twisted Mr. Hyde.

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” So begins Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen’s witty comedy of manners—one of the most popular novels of all time—that features splendidly civilized sparring between the proud Mr. Darcy and the prejudiced Elizabeth Bennet as they play out their spirited courtship in a series of eighteenth-century drawing-room intrigues.

Jonathan Harker is travelling to Castle Dracula to see the Transylvanian noble, Count Dracula. He is begged by locals not to go there, because on the eve of St George's Day, when the clock strikes midnight, all the evil things in the world will come full sway. But business must be done, so Jonathan makes his way to the Castle - and then his nightmare begins. His beloved wife Mina and other lost souls have fallen under the Count's horrifying spell. Dracula must be destroyed...

A story of evil, debauchery and scandal, Oscar Wilde's only novel tells of Dorian Gray, a beautiful yet corrupt man. When he wishes that a perfect portrait of himself would bear the signs of ageing in his place, the picture becomes his hideous secret, as it follows Dorian's own downward spiral into cruelty and depravity. 

Lucy has her rigid, middle-class life mapped out for her until she visits Florence with her uptight cousin Charlotte, and finds her neatly ordered existence thrown off balance. Her eyes are opened by the unconventional characters she meets at the Pension Bertolini: flamboyant romantic novelist Eleanor Lavish, the Cockney Signora, curious Mr Emerson and, most of all, his passionate son George. Lucy finds herself torn between the intensity of life in Italy and the repressed morals of Edwardian England, personified in her terminally dull fiancé Cecil Vyse. Will she ever learn to follow her own heart?

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